Yesterday, I went to the trailer to prepare. I went up to the second floor and found all my Stuff, which I then had someone help me bring down to the trailer. Afterward, we placed it all in the abandoned file cabinet and ran back to the building. I went to my AP to file the outside evidence about all the Important Things I'd accomplished and she unceremoniously informed me that she had assigned me to a real classroom in the building.
I then went back to the trailer, got my Stuff, and took it to the second floor.
I was not pleased. As an ESL teacher, I sometimes get small classes. As a result, I've taught in every crappy corner of the building. I have been in rooms with fragrant dumpsters outside the window. I've been in rooms shaped like bowling alleys where kids were in 15 rows of two. I've been in rooms with no windows that my English-challenged kids quickly compared to jail. When I was in that room, there was a dance class that practiced, with dance music, outside our door. You could breath, you could listen, but it was rare you could do both at the same time.
I once taught English in the music wing. The teacher next-door to me favored Flight of the Valkyries, and played it every single day. I have no idea why. I politely asked him to shut the door a few times, but he was incapable of doing this of his own volition. After a few weeks, I walked to his classroom and slammed the door. He filed a complaint with his AP, who called me into her office and lectured me on my bad behavior. After I replied, she further lectured me on my bad language. (You have to respect an AP who stands up for her people even when they act like that. It's a dying breed.)
Anyway, our school is just a little overcrowded. I noticed that a few years ago. I also noticed that my classes tended to get bounced out of desirable classrooms. You see, some class becomes overcrowded in some crappy room, the teacher complains endlessly, and then my kids and I get dumped in some closet somewhere. It's happened to me many times. One of those times I got dumped in the trailer. Almost everyone hates the trailers.
You never know what's gonna happen in a trailer. Will the AC work? Will the heat work? (Word to the wise--don't trust anyone who tells you tin is a good insulator.) Will the floor be covered with ice? Will someone throw a snowball through the window? Will the stairs outside rot? Will you and your overstuffed bag fall through the hole when it does? Will a kid use one of those iron rails that's fallen off the outside stairs as a weapon? Will there be a gaping hole in the floor or wall? Who knows?
But here's the thing--it's a full-size classroom. You can move the desks any way you wish. You don't have to give the bathroom pass to anyone, ever, because there's a bathroom right there. And no one ever plays Flight of the Valkyries in the middle of an English test. Sure, from time to time the marching band will walk down the street playing Louie Louie, or perhaps La Bamba. But they're timeless classics, aren't they?
Best of all, if you're there, no teacher will ever ask to have you moved. Almost no one, aside from me, is crazy enough to ask for them. And when people complain to me about them, I can say, "I've been in the trailers for ten years."
But my supervisor fears that her department will not keep this valuable room unless she places me in it. I predict someone with a larger class than me will boot me out of it, as enrollment is up. "We're really sorry, but Miss Grundy has 200 students and you only have 20. You understand, don't you?"
I understood it the first and second time. But after a while I didn't. That was when I started requesting the trailers. Only two teachers complained yesterday about trailers.
The next time that happens, I may try to broker a swap.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.